Micro BioTechnology Laboratroy

MEMS & Microfluidics

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Fishbone Microchannel for Circulating Tumor Cell Enrichment through Hydrodynamic Separation

A fishbone-shaped microchannel was developed for the fast and passive enrichment of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood samples. The microchannel design utilizes angled expansion and contraction channels to exploit the differences in dominant forces based on cell diameter. Feasibility tests using microparticles of various sizes showed effective separation, and cell separation experiments demonstrated a high recovery efficiency for cancer cells. This microfluidic approach offers potential for efficient CTC enrichment, aiding in cancer diagnosis and monitoring. Kwak, B., Lee, S., Lee, J., Lee, J., Cho, J., Woo, H., & Heo, Y. S. (2018). Hydrodynamic blood cell separation using fishbone shaped microchannel for circulating tumor cells enrichment. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 261, 38-43.


Microfunnel-Driven Dynamic Culture Enhances Mouse Embryo Development and Pregnancy Rates

This study used a dynamic microfunnel embryo culture system to improve the quality and outcomes of in vitro cultured embryos. The system successfully enhanced blastocyst development, resulting in higher implantation and ongoing pregnancy rates compared to static cultures. The user-friendly microfluidic/microfunnel system has the potential to enhance embryo production efficiency and assist reproductive technologies in various fields. Heo, Y. S., Cabrera, L. M., Bormann, C. L., Shah, C. T., Takayama, S., & Smith, G. D. (2010). Dynamic microfunnel culture enhances mouse embryo development and pregnancy rates. Human reproduction, 25(3), 613-622.


Characterization and Resolution of Osmolality Shifts in Microfluidic Cell Culture for embryo development

This study investigates evaporation in microfluidic cell culture using PDMS devices and proposes a solution. Evaporation causes osmolality shifts that hinder the growth of mouse embryos and human endothelial cells. A diffusion model explains the evaporation process. To overcome this issue, a PDMS-parylene-PDMS hybrid membrane is developed, effectively preventing evaporation while maintaining necessary properties for microfluidic systems. The hybrid membrane enables successful embryo development and endothelial cell culture in small volumes. The findings offer insights into addressing evaporation-related effects in microfluidic cell cultures. Heo, Y. S., Cabrera, L. M., Song, J. W., Futai, N., Tung, Y. C., Smith, G. D., & Takayama, S. (2007). Characterization and resolution of evaporation-mediated osmolality shifts that constrain microfluidic cell culture in poly (dimethylsiloxane) devices. Analytical chemistry, 79(3), 1126-1134.


MEMS & Microfluidics

A microfluidic device, also known as a lab-on-a-chip or microfluidic chip, is a miniaturized platform that manipulates and controls small volumes of fluids (typically in the microliter or nanoliter range) within microscopic channels or chambers. It combines principles of fluid mechanics, physics, chemistry, and biology to perform various analytical, diagnostic, and experimental tasks. Microfluidic devices are typically fabricated using techniques such as photolithography, soft lithography, or micro-machining, which allow the creation of precise and intricate structures at the microscale. These devices often consist of interconnected channels, valves, pumps, mixers, and detectors designed to carry out specific functions.
The key advantages of microfluidic devices are their ability to handle small sample volumes, provide rapid analysis, enable precise control of fluid flow, offer high-throughput capabilities, and allow integration of multiple laboratory functions onto a single chip. They find applications in diverse fields, including chemical synthesis, biomedical diagnostics, DNA analysis, drug discovery, point-of-care testing, and environmental monitoring.
Microfluidic devices have revolutionized various areas of research and technology by offering miniaturization, automation, and improved efficiency compared to traditional laboratory techniques. They have the potential to accelerate scientific discoveries, enhance healthcare delivery, and enable portable and cost-effective analytical tools.